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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why The Space Center?

The first picture of Earth from such a distance taken by the
Voyager Space Probe in 1991 as it passed Saturn.
From this image this has become.....This is our Blue Dot in Space.

Hello Troops,
I've been asked many times over the last twenty years why I created the Space Education Center. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the answer lies in something I saw and heard that changed the direction of my thinking towards space and our place in it.

I'd like to share that experience with you. Perhaps, after watching this, you'll come to understand the power of emotion in education and how something lasting only a few minutes can change a life forever.

The three minutes I spent listening to this master teacher may seem insignificant in a life of 52 years - but they were. They inspired me to pass this reverence of what lies beyond in the darkness that surrounds us and the importance of what we have here on Earth with my students. And thus, from my sixth grade classroom in the 1980's, sprang the concepts the Space Center was built upon.

The power of Dr. Sagan's words, spoken so long ago, still impact the children that come to the Space Center to experience what is, what was, and what could be -

- if we cherish the pale blue dot in space we call home.

Mr. Williamson

"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

Dr. Carl Sagan

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

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